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Hearth Attack charity race to return to Sturgeon County

Proceeds to support West Country Hearth
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WATER LANDING — A competitor tries to traverse floating platforms at the Inland gravel pit near Villeneuve during the 2019 West Country Hearth Attack race. The charity event returns Sept. 10, 2022, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. SHALLEN MOORE/Photo

Sturgeon County athletes are set to dive into a gravel pit in early September as they race to raise cash to support seniors.

About 250 people will be at the Inland Aggregates gravel pit near Villeneuve Sept. 10 for the sixth semi-annual West Country Hearth Attack. The event sees athletes climb, crawl, splash, and race through numerous obstacles and challenges to win prizes and raise money in support of the West Country Hearth seniors' facility in Villeneuve.

This will be the first Hearth Attack race since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said West Country Hearth chairperson Colleen Soetaert.

“We’re back after a two-year break, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Track designer and long-time Hearth Attack competitor Chris Moore said this year’s course will be about six kilometres and feature around 20 challenges, including ramps, rope swings, floating platforms, a climbing wall, and a run up a giant sand pile. Competitors can tackle the challenges individually or in teams. Racers who cannot surpass a challenge must complete 20 burpees (a burpee is a jumping jack followed by a push-up) or make a $5 donation to continue their run.

“It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is for a lot of people,” Moore said.

Lori Moores said she plans to run in her fourth Hearth Attack this year as part of a team of teachers from Camilla School.

“The amount of spirit that is out there is incredible,” she said of the race, and it is a great team-building exercise.

Moores said she has been running up hills and clambering around playground monkey-bars to prepare for this year’s race. Her weakest events in the Hearth Attack are the ones which require accuracy, such as ones where you have to toss a football into a target. She missed last event, and had to perform many penalty burpees before tackling the next obstacle (the giant sand hill).

“I was spent after that,” she said.

Moores said the Hearth Attack is a fun way to challenge yourself and raise money for a good cause at the same time.

The race typically raises $30,000 for West Country Hearth, Soetaert said. While the race isn’t open to spectators or people under 14, Soetaert said racers and volunteers can still cheer on competitors from the finish line area, which overlooks most of the course.

“It is a laugh a minute,” Soetaert said of the event.

The 2022 West Country Hearth Attack takes place Sept. 10. Visit westcountryhearthattack.com for details.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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